Wigan Flashes Wetland Restoration

Wigan Flashes Wigan Greenheart Living Landscape cpt Lancs WTWigan Flashes Wigan Greenheart Living Landscape cpt Lancs WT

Creating a network of important wetland habitats

Lancashire, Manchester and North Merseyside Wildlife Trust

360 view


Wigan Flashes is 240 hectares of wetland - large areas of open water, reedbed, fen, rough grassland, wet woodland and scrub are home to more than 200 species of bird, 15 species of dragonfly and 6 species of orchid.

The flashes (lakes) are a legacy of Wigan's industrial past and were formed as a result of mining subsidence. Some of the flashes were partially filled with colliery waste and ash from the nearby Westwood Power Station. Ince Moss Colliery closed in 1962 and Westwood Power Station was demolished as recently as 1989. Natural colonisation and large-scale reclamation works have helped heal the industrial scars, turning the area into the amenity it is today.

This Living Landscape scheme is transforming the damaged landscape back to its former glory so that it can benefit the six million people who live within 20 minutes  of the site. It will link the flashes to a larger network of important wetland habitats along a 9km stretch of the Leigh branch of the Leeds to Liverpool Canal.

Wigan Flashes is also part of Greenheart (Wigan's Regional Park Project), a major initiative to unite country parks and open land from Pennington in Leigh to Haigh Hall in Wigan.

Virtual tour by Mike McFarlane

360 view

What's happening?

We have created 30 Hhectares of reedbed by removing 40,000 tonnes of post-industrial waste

More than 22 hectares of willow have been removed to allow reedbed to establish.

Almost 20 hectares of ditching and bed-lowering has been completed in the reedbeds as part of an extensive bittern project.

The woodland areas are being managed to develop a structure of glades, which will be colonised by native woodland vegetation.

6 kilometres of footpath have been created.

Start date: 2003

Scheme area: 240 hectares

This scheme is helping species including...

Overwintering waterfowl such as Grey Heron, Tufted Duck, Coot, Pochard, Goldeneye, Gadwall and Great Crested Grebe. Breeding birds include Reed Bunting, Willow Tit, Reed Warbler, Sedge Warbler, Common Tern and Water Rail, 15 species of dragonfly, 6 species of orchid, Noctule and Daubenton's bats.


Wigan Metropolitan Borough Council

To find out more

Email: info@lancswt.org.ukWigan Flashes

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